Mindfulness and merde

Is it possible to develop the awareness of dog shit in your path, and also enjoy the good stuff around you in the same moment? I’m pretty good at avoiding stuff on the street or on grass, but on a leafy hiking path I will be practicing because somehow I managed to get both feet deep in the merde. As I was using a twig for purposes of remediation, I was fully able to appreciate the new, knobby Vibram tread on my Hanwags.

And then I reflected on the irony of appreciating something new AFTER an encounter with dog poo.

After this, I decided to see if the hive brain had yet come up with a better method than scraping, rinsing and scrubbing shoes to remove fecal material, and came upon this from Lifehacker:

  1. Stick your shoe in a plastic bag and toss it in the freezer for several hours.
  2. Come back later, grab a pencil, take the show outside, and use it to pick that frozen dog doo out of your shoe’s treads. Because the poop is less of a mushy substance and more like an ice cube, it won’t stick to the rubber. You’ll be able to get it out easily and go on with your day.
  3. If you want to really clean the shoe thoroughly, get yourself a toothbrush specifically for this occasion and brush the bottom of the shoe with soapy water. The tiny bristles well help remove any residue.
  4. When you’re done, spray the bottom of the show with a stream of water and let it dry. (The truly paranoid with non-leather shoes can toss them in the washing machine, too.

I may try this method out if it gets really cold and leave my shoes outside. Another question, who would be OK with putting a duke in their freezer, unless it was used for other non-food/beverage storage?

Ranier at Dusk

The elusive mountain and its setting have a Tokaido vibe going on.

On a formatting note, this was posted as a Featured Photo. I’ll be playing with settings to see what they do.

Is this thing still on?

A decade ago. That’s how long it feels like it’s been since I signed in, typed words into the title and body fields, uploaded pictures, and hit [Publish]. Nothing really took over the place of Higo Blog. Posting on Facebook just wasn’t the same, and actually started feeling like a fax of a xeroxed picture.

Every once in a while I take a look at old posts, enjoying them like the sweet, earthy smell of old, treasured, well-maintained books. It feels like I’ve picked up an especially significant book, one that I haven’t read in ages, that has benefited from a long, undisturbed rest. Much feels familiar, and I’ll be interested to see if it’s much the same as it used to be, or to note how it’s different.

One big setting that I changed a few years back was to disable comments. This was due to the overwhelming amount of spam comments that vied for attention. Spam seems no more in control now than it was when it first appeared, and continues to thrive despite being one of the few things that 99% of people can agree to hate. For now, I think I’ll leave comments off, though I used to really enjoy the discourse that they provided.

Side story: I was excitedly offered food at a party near Gilroy. The hostess exclaimed, “It’s really good sushi – try some. It has meat!”

It was Spam musubi. Which is always good. And it was culture shock. Which, in this case, was amusing. What does this have to do with the main narrative? Very little, but it’s about Spam.

And so with these rambling thoughts about what the blog was, and thinking about what I want it to be, I’ll let this post settle in. As a work in progress, as a relatively invisible stream of untargeted, non-fodderized social media. Sounds good to me.

Sharpie Art




This past weekend I got a chance to bust out my markers on my dive float as Alex Norton (very talented artist and tuna whisperer) burned a boar’s skeleton into a wooden sheath that pairs with a bone handled hunting knife. I started with the outline of the suction cups on the arm and the eye. I decided to just depict five of the octopus’ arms, as I’ve noticed that you don’t frequently get a good view of all eight of them at one time. Or maybe it’s a newly discovered species of cephalopod–the magnificent pentapus!


As you can see from the next shot, I decided to get rid of the siphon because of the orientation of the body. the panel between the zippers acts as a nice frame–an unintended result that I’m quite pleased with.IMG_0353At one point, I was going to have the octopus descending while holding an ab iron, but couldn’t get the proportions to work. Nevertheless, I’m happy with my progress thus far, and plan on adding more critters to fill up the negative spaces on the sides. Not bad for a humble sharpie on top of ballistic nylon, huh?

Big Sur River: After Rain


On days when there is threat of rain, when you exhale steam, and when it hurts to get out from under the covers, it is often rewarding to push all reservations aside and to go play outside. On this particular day, I was rewarded for my efforts with almost complete solitude on my walk through the woods.


Though the sky was gloomy for much of the day, and drizzle sifted down through the trees, the water was all sorts of beautiful shades ranging from pale blue to dark green. Colors that you might associate more with tropical beaches than a riparian surrounding.


Shrooms are sprouting all over the place right now. I bet those who are knowledgeable (or people who think they are) about mushrooms are having some pretty epic feasts this season.


I don’t know what etches these lines into the trees beneath the bark (beetles?). Reminds me of an episode of X-Files where bugs hidden in the trees are unleashed upon humans and eat them alive.





It’s amazing how high on the shoreline the river deposited all of the crap that built up after the previous flush.

Also, the density of signage led me to half-expect Yosemite Sam to jump out from the trees and tell me to “back off” when I got close.


I wonder how high the water level has reached on this bridge.


The wet weather has given the moss everything that shampoo/conditioner commercials promise to give to your hair.


This moss, too, looks X-File-esque.


Up close, it looks like a Chia-pet, huh? On a side note, the iPhone 5 takes better macro shots than the stock 18-55mm D50 lens in many situations.


Given enough time, water wins.


I bet there’s some nice fish hiding in some of these spots along the river. Not all of them are easy to get to, and I hope it stays that way.

Hokusai Waves and Almond Scented Arthropods

Today, I was one of the few people out, enjoying the ocean and the woods, and for that matter, driving on Highway 1 South. Stepping out of the car, I had an overwhelming urge to walk towards the ocean, and this is what I saw:

Side note: Please excuse the finger blocking the top of the photo – I was trying to keep the lens clean. Also, I’m pretty impressed with the camera on the iPhone 5. You be the judge–all of the photos in this post are from the same camera

I had never seen waves that looked distinctly like Hokusai’s famous depiction, that you see everywhere it seems, but today the waves were breaking exactly that way (though I didn’t manage to capture one in a photo). Tall, high cresting beasts surged in relentlessly, pounding anything in their way. Small waves would from on the face of a swell, and other wavelets would sideswipe, race to swallow or otherwise join with their kin, followed by the gaping maw of the mother wave that would inevitably chomp down upon the cavernous trough below.

I don’t think anyone would have stood much of a chance if they fell in the water today. I imagine even the fish had a hard time staying safe. The seaweed in the water exploded into the air, large pieces catapulted high in the sky and molecules of sulfurous rotting algae permeated the crazy wind-whipped sea spray.

On the hike up to the waterfall at Garrapata State Park, I found an alternate trail up a creek that joins up with the main trail and spent most of the afternoon exploring game trails. There are few things more satisfying than hiking on wet, springy foliage and humus, balancing on fallen trees that cross over water and going just a little further to see what’s on the other side (of the hill, bend, thicket, etc).

This was not the first time I have seen a banana slug, but this one was rather large. Here’s a close-up:

The mushrooms were out in force today as well:

The most interesting critter I came across today was a strange looking millipede. This is the first time I’ve run across this particular creature, and I’m really glad that it was on my terms (as opposed to suddenly feeling prickly legs unexpectedly on my skin):

As I read about this particular invertebrate, I’m bummed that I didn’t know that I should have smelled it. The yellow-spotted millipede (Harpaphe haydeniana) apparently smells like almonds (maybe that’s why it’s called the almond scented millipede), due to its ability to secrete hydrogen cyanide when threatened (perhaps that’s where it’s other name, cyanide millipede, comes from). The life lesson here is as follows: If the Kool Aid, or millipede, smells of almonds, it is best not to consume. One more picture of our flamboyant, poisonous friend:

I have to admit, I’m really enjoying this chaotic weather, and I hope that it results in some snow so that I can hit the slopes. Hopefully I’ll be able to post about an epic snowboarding trip this year!

Katsuma Dan – The Last One to Go

World War II? Midget submarine base? Marine Biological Station? What’s this all about? I saw this picture hanging up in Hopkins Marine Station, and I wanted to find out if there was any more to the story. Apparently Time Magazine wrote a piece called “Appeal to the Goths” (unfortunately, you can’t read the article unless you subscribe to the magazine) on December 10, 1945. Read more about the history of the note and about the Japanese embryologist/biologist who wrote it:


Thoughts on fish eye movement

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fish track me with its eyes when it’s out of the water, however, underwater I’ve seen them move their eyes quite frequently. Just today, I went on a dive to the Metridium Fields (at the Breakwater, enter the water several hundred feet from the jetty, right in front of the restroom, swim out a few hundred feet, then descend on the big pipe. Follow it out until the end, then head on a bearing of 0 degrees/North) with my intern and saw many incredible critters including melibes that were larger than two of my fists put together, a huge orange/white nudibranch, tons of sunflower stars, smatterings of sea nettles (which stung the intern in the face), a giant kelp greenling, perch, rockfish, gobies, octopus, crabs, barnacles, clumps of squid eggs, and a small lingcod (just short of two feet). This lingcod, unlike the one pictured above, tracked my movements with its eyes very intently as I hovered a foot away from it. I stayed just above it for a good thirty seconds, and although it clearly knew I was there and that I was interested in it, the lingcod did not budge! Still, I wonder why the eye of a lingcod seems to stay stationary when it is out of water, vs. the quick, minute movements that the eye makes when it’s submersed. I would expect that if a lingcod was stressed out that the eye would be darting all around, above or below the water. I wonder if there’s something that prevents the fish from moving its eyes when it’s out of the water, if it does happen but I just haven’t observed it, or if there’s something else that I’m missing. In any case, lingcods have pretty cool looking eyes!